Sr. Kathleen Ann elected to second term as Heading Avenue Franciscan president

Elected to serve as the general council for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception in West Peoria on Oct. 9 were (from left) Sister Holly Marie Schulz, councilor; Sister Irene Marie Fritch, vice president; Sister Kathleen Ann Mourisse, president; and Sister Betty Jean Haverback, councilor. They will be installed Dec. 5. (Provided photo)

WEST PEORIA — Sister Kathleen Ann Mourisse, OSF, has been elected to serve a second term as president of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception. She will be installed at a Mass on Dec. 5, with Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka as the celebrant.

Assisting Sister Kathleen Ann will be Sister Irene Marie Fritch of Peoria as vice president, and Sister Holly Marie Schulz of Springfield and Sister Betty Jean Haverback of Peoria as councilors.

Usually the terms would be for four years, but the pandemic made it necessary to extend the service of the current general council by six months.

“Canon law says you have to be present for an election — you have to be physically present. You can’t do it on Zoom, you can’t do it by mail,” Sister Kathleen Ann told The Catholic Post. “Even despite COVID, there were no exceptions made to that canon law.”

Some of the Heading Avenue Franciscans, as they are affectionately known, could not leave their assignments at St. Joseph’s Home of Springfield because of COVID restrictions. The same applied to Sister Janice Keenan, OSF, who ministers at the Portiuncula Center for Prayer in Frankfort, and Sister Jacqueline Schroeder, OSF, who serves at Standing Rock Reservation in the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota.

To get things back on schedule, the new general council will serve until June 2025, enabling the community to discern and make nominations in January of that year and hold elections in March, as usual.

Because the Heading Avenue Franciscans are a diocesan order, Bishop Tylka presided at the election on Oct. 9. It was held in the motherhouse chapel, as will the Mass and installation in December.


Sister Kathleen Ann is the daughter of the late Alfred and Irene Mourisse of East Moline. She entered the Heading Avenue Franciscans in 1968, professing first vows in 1971 and final vows in 1975.

She has taught at Seton Catholic (and its predecessor Sacred Heart) in Moline, St. Mary in Metamora, Peru Catholic in Peru, and St. Philomena in Peoria. Sister Kathleen Ann also was principal at Seton Catholic from 1987 to 1991, and St. Philomena from 2002 to 2006.

When she was elected to her first term in 2017, Sister Kathleen Ann had been teaching art, and serving as sacramental coordinator and RCIA coordinator for St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, and is certified in spiritual direction by Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

A general chapter to determine directions for her Franciscan community for the next four years will be held in the near future.

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